Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sunday Confidential

Today my beau and I went to Storm King, a 500-acre outdoor museum/park for sculpture in Mountainville, NY. It was a perfectly perfect day, with sun, a breeze, and temperatures in the mid-eighties. Storm King is a beautiful property, with rolling hills and views of the Catskills. At their best, the sculptures surprise you: they nestle among trees or appear unexpectedly from behind a rise; some of them, especially the Calders and Spheres by Grace Knowlton, are playful; and some of them, in particular the smaller pieces, Richard Serra's Schunnemunk Fork, and the Storm King Wall by Andy Goldsworthy, are so elegantly integrated with their surroundings as to seem like ancient creations stumbled upon by modern visitors.

However, to a large extent Storm King seems stuck in a 1970s aesthetic, and many of the sculptures reflect a time when artists were giddy with their ability to create large scale works out of steel and defeat viewers' assumptions about gravity and balance, but which now seem dated. Clearly these works are important to the history of art, and many of them are still very impressive, but I find myself less interested in the towering and the massive than in the intimate and intricate. And it's not just a question of materials or size: Serra's piece is made of four steel panels eight feet high and up to fifty-four feet long, but it is kind to visitors, inviting you into the landscape instead of dominating it. Of course, one problem is that these sculptures are, for the most part, extremely huge and heavy, so it's not like they could really move pieces that no longer seem as relevant as they once did. But as a result, Storm King is, though incredibly beautiful, a somewhat static place.


Blogger Laura D. said...

Wow...Storm King is where my high school friends used to go to drop acid...maybe that's the way to see it! Hahaha. <3

9:47 PM  

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